President says yes to Cabinet maintaining “no objection” to contracts

Georgetown, GINA, July 22, 2013

 

President Donald Ramotar has argued in favour of Cabinet maintaining its “no objection” role in the award of contracts, which opposition politicians want abolished as they tout the Public Procurement Commission (PPC).

The Head of State during an interview at his office today on current issues and events making headlines in Guyana said there is nothing unreasonable about Cabinet’s miniscule role in the process.

“The Cabinet of Guyana has the least power when you compare it to the rest of the Caribbean, and for that matter, probably with the rest of the Commonwealth or most of the Commonwealth,” President Ramotar said.

On numerous occasions, the Government has had cause to explain in detail its procurement regime as it seeks to defend its record of transparency and openness in response to the speculation often spewed.

It was the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPPC) Government that took the decision to publicly advertise contracts, overhauling a system used by the previous regime to arbitrarily grant an award.

Following the passage of the Procurement Act of 2003 in the National Assembly, the way was paved for the establishment of the National Procurement and Tender Administration Board (NPTAB) where contracts are scrutinised.

This board comprising about 15 technical evaluators from a diverse range of professional backgrounds is tasked with evaluating tenders and implementing policies in accordance with regional and international standards.

Once approved, the contract is submitted to the Cabinet for a no objection and once given the green light, an award notice is issued which paves the way for the final stage where relevant ministry officials would sign the contracts.

There are instances where Cabinet if dissatisfied, can request that the tender board review the award and other instances where provisions under the Procurement Act allow bidders to object with probable reason, if the contract goes to another.

The overall objective is to promote accountability, transparency and competitiveness, but the political opposition and their allies believe that there is corruption within the system and wants it replaced with the PPC.

With a one seat majority advantage, the opposition demanded that the PPC be established before its members approve legislation to modernise Guyana’s financial crimes legislation; a tradeoff which has been described as political blackmail.

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